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Michigan State basketball: It’s Xavier Booker time

Let’s give him a shot.



Michigan State basketball
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

After scoring five quick points in garbage time during a Michigan State basketball loss at Wisconsin, Xavier Booker deserves a shot.

Michigan State basketball suffered yet another disappointing loss on Friday, this time to Wisconsin, 81-66. Not much went the Spartans way in this game, but it was obvious that the center spot struggled the most.

Mady Sissoko and Carson Cooper got the majority of the minutes down low for MSU, but it was Xavier Booker that provided a spark late in the game. This begs the question, is it finally time for Booker to start playing more than Sissoko and Cooper?

It’s officially Xavier Booker time

Cooper and Sissoko combined for 36 minutes Friday night against Wisconsin. In those 36 minutes, they combined for only two points. And if my memory serves me correctly, those two points came off a Mady Sissoko wide open dunk. So these two were essentially nonexistent on offense on Friday.

Enter Xavier Booker.

Booker hasn’t seen many minutes so far this season, and trust me, I get it. He struggles on the defensive end and with rebounding, so I understand why Tom Izzo doesn’t want to play him. But I think Booker’s offensive potential is too high to not play him anymore.

Booker didn’t see the floor until late in the game. He ended up playing for six minutes and scored a quick five points to give the Spartans a little momentum late in this game. That little offensive spurt from Booker was enough to outscore Sissoko and Cooper combined.

Why Booker should get more playing time

Now like I said, I get why Booker hasn’t played as much this season, but there are two reasons why this should change. Number one, we know who Cooper and Sissoko are offensively. Neither one of them is a legit scorer, ever. They’ve proven this season that MSU can’t rely on them to score on the offensive end. They may be solid at times defensively, but to me that isn’t enough to justify benching Booker.

This brings me to point number two, Booker has a lot of potential. Sure he may struggle at times defending and rebounding the ball, but there’s no denying his potential on the offensive end of the floor. I think everyone agrees that he has way more potential overall than both Cooper and Sissoko. So the way I see it, we know all three of guys have their limitations, so why not play the five-star freshman who has shown to have the most potential? If Izzo gives a lot of minutes to Booker now, that’s only going to help the team next season when he’s ready to take on a more significant role.

If I had to guess though, I don’t think Mady will leave the starting lineup. Izzo tends to be loyal to his guys, so I don’t think a change that drastic will come. But Izzo needs to start giving Booker some more playing time, even if it’s only about 15 minutes per game off the bench.

Lead writer for Spartan Shadows since April 2023, writing over 450 articles. Michigan State basketball, football and recruiting expert. Class of 2019 graduate from Michigan State University specializing in Sports Management. Daily MSU runs a popular X page (@daily_msu) covering all things MSU Sports.


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